Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 15: Day 3

Starting to make concrete and keeping the fence posts vertical.

There was a keenness on the job site this morning. "Is it time to start mixing the cement?" But the voice of experience said it was more important to make sure the posts were straight and at an even height so that the fence itself would be level and straight. Of course, each of the post holes was a different depth.

Meanwhile, the young men have been carting wheel barrow loads of concrete ingredients. First sand, then gravel, then cement. It's all mixed by the shovel full until all the components are evenly distributed. Next come the buckets of water, gradually added, with vigorous mixing by the shovel load. The women on the project who have mixed cement in other projects are disappointed at the size of the mix-pile ("too many wheel barrow loads, we can't mix a pile that big and heavy"), whereas the young men bring their shovels and muscles and go at it with gusto.

Painting the fence posts with rust resistant paint is an ongoing project.  More fence posts keep being created at the back of the house and brought round to the painting area.

Lorne went with Elizabeth to buy more construction supplies.  The construction market is a combination of small shops selling new materials and a large area of recycled materials and lumber.  The small shops might specialize, such as the tile shop, or they might be a general store with everything you might need. Each shop is tucked into a narrow long shop layout. All prices are negotiable here. If you look like a local, you get one price; if you look like a foreigner, you get a higher price.

Fanta to go:
I went for short stroll from our hotel (Ninzi Hill Hotel). There was a large sign "Wine & More Supermarket". I was curious what might be in the supermarket. While trying to find it, I checked out two small grocery stores. These are small store fronts, deep and narrow, carrying a mixture of convenience foods (read imported) and basic staples ( bread, milk, eggs). I bought a Fanta and was surprised it was only 300 Rwandan francs. That's about 40 cents in Canadian funds. Then the clerk told me I had to drink it in the store. If I wanted to take it "to go" it would cost 800 Rwandan francs. So I stayed in the tiny shop and slowly sipped my cold lemon Fanta while looking over all the goods.  While I was reading product labels (goods from UAE, Netherlands, Rwanda, Italy) a fellow came in and bought a pop. He poured it into his own water bottle. Ah, that's how it's done!

Weather Report:
When we arrived, the weather forecast was sunny with clouds until September 1st.  Michael, our team leader, assured us it doesn't rain in the dry season.  Well, today it rained with a thunder storm during the afternoon.  It continued to rain all night.  It's the second night in a row it has rained.  The frogs were chirping in the middle of the night in the fresh cool drizzle.

Luinda Bleackley
DWC volunteer
Rwanda, August 2016

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